Nowadays, just about every coffee shop, smoothie bar and bakery features their own creative offerings using this trending superfood. Matcha, a green tea powder is not new to the scene, however. In fact, it’s use in Japanese tea ceremonies dates back hundreds of years and has been worshiped for centuries for its long list of impressive health benefits.
WHAT IS IT?
Matcha is a concentrated, powdered form of green tea that can be stirred into hot or cold beverages, infused into baked goods and blended into smoothies.
WHY DO WE LOVE IT?
Matcha is known to promote energy and accelerate exercise recovery, making it an ideal pre-workout boost. #matcha promotes a feeling of “calm alertness” thanks to high levels of L-Theanine – an amino acid. By drinking matcha you can increase your levels of L-theanine and promote alpha waves, which lead to a state of relaxed alertness. L-theanine has been shown to benefit patients diagnosed with anxiety by increasing levels of dopamine and GABA in the brain.
Matcha has also been said to reduce abdominal fat, improve immune system function and even boasts disease-fighting abilities like preventing cancer! Matcha is the optimal food source of catechins, or polyphenol compounds that halt oxidative cellular damage. These powerful antioxidants are also found in cocoa and apples.
WHERE CAN I BUY SOME?
You can find matcha green tea lattes all over the city, but be aware that most contain excessive amounts of sugar. Opt for unsweetened varieties and stir in honey, stevia or coconut sugar instead. Stock your pantry with matcha powders for DIY recipes at home. Look for a ceremonial-grade Japanese variety to ensure the best quality. Matcha in tea bags is ok for steeping, but only provides 10-20% of the tea’s benefits. To really take advantage of the tea’s rich antioxidants, chlorophyll, amino acids and vitamins, you’ll want to get your hands on the powdered form. This way you’ll be consuming the tea leaf in its entirety.
TRY THIS RECIPE AT HOME:
ICED VANILLA MATCHA LATTE
1 tsp matcha powder
1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 packet stevia in the raw
Mix matcha in tall glass with milk until combined. Stir in vanilla and stevia. Pour over ice and enjoy!